Ecclesiastes 10:12

12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 in Other Translations

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
12 The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him.
12 Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words.
12 The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs -
12 The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 10:12

The words of a wise man's mouth [are] gracious
Or "grace" F21. He speaks kind and good things in favour of the characters of men, and not as the babbling detractor: he speaks well of civil magistrates and rulers in the state; of the ministers of the word in the church; and of all his fellow creatures, as far as can with truth be said: and a truly good and gracious man, who is Solomon's wise man, in opposition to a fool and wicked man; his discourse will run upon the grace of God, upon the doctrines of grace, and upon the experience of the truth of grace on his heart: upon the grace of God the Father, in loving and choosing men; in contriving their salvation; in making a covenant of grace with them in Christ; in sending him to die for them, and in accepting his satisfaction and righteousness for them: and on the grace of the Son, in becoming their surety; assuming their nature, dying in their room and stead, interceding for them, taking care of them, and supplying them with grace out of his fulness: and on the grace of the Spirit, in regeneration and sanctification; working in them faith, hope, and love; applying precious promises to them, and sealing them up to the day of redemption: of these things they speak often one to another, and cannot but talk of the things they have felt and seen: and such words and discourses are gracious, graceful, and grateful to truly pious souls, and minister grace unto them; and are also well pleasing and acceptable to God and Christ, as well as gain them favour among men; see ( Proverbs 22:11 ) ( Ephesians 4:29 ) ; but the lips of a fool swallow up himself;
his words are not only able and displeasing to others, but bring ruin upon himself; by talking too freely of rulers and others, he brings himself into trouble, and plunges himself into difficulties, out of which he cannot easily get; yea, is swallowed up in them, and destroyed. Or, his "lips swallow up him" F23; the wise man, whose words are gracious; and, by his calumny and detraction, his deceit and lies, brings him into disgrace and danger: or, "swallows it up", or "that" F24; the grace of the wise man, or his gracious words; and hinders the edification of others by them, and the good effects of them. Though the first sense seems best.


F21 (Nx) "gratia", Montanus, Mercerus, Drusius, Cocceius, Rambachius.
F23 (wnelbx) "deglutiet eum", Montanus; "absorbent eum", Piscator, Rambachius.
F24 "Illam", Munster, Cocceius; "quam labia stulti velut absorbendo sufferunt", Tigurine version.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 In-Context

10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
11 If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee.
12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.
13 At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness—
14 and fools multiply words. No one knows what is coming— who can tell someone else what will happen after them?

Cross References 2

  • 1. Proverbs 10:32
  • 2. S Proverbs 10:6; Proverbs 10:14; S Proverbs 14:3; S Proverbs 15:2; S Proverbs 18:7